Ask Angi: How to plan a garage conversion

Paul F. P. Pogue
Tribune News Service

A garage renovation that transforms it into an additional room gives homeowners more space when they have limited options for expansion outside or their house doesn’t have a basement. Most often homeowners are looking at a plan to convert a garage into a bedroom or rec room.

Conversely, you might just want to upgrade your storage or workspace. Whatever the case, many contractors now specialize in garage conversions and can help you bring your vision to life. Garage upgrades tend to improve your resale value as well, provided they’re not too specific.

A hobby room dedicated to your favorite college team will make you very happy, but might limit your resale options more than a living suite would.

Keep in mind you’ll have to make a significant investment to accomplish this. A garage remodel costs an average of $11,000. Most jobs between $6,000 and $21,000, and a big-ticket upgrade such as an in-law suite will probably cost even more.

One possible garage remodeling option could be a dedicated organization system for tools.

You can also consider hiring a dedicated garage organizer if you want to make the best use of the space for traditional garage tasks such as hobbies, tool storage or car maintenance.

What affects garage remodeling cost?

The cost to convert a garage relies heavily on your intentions for the area. Size of the garage, age of the house and the remodel purpose will all affect the final cost.

A typical conversion includes adding insulation inside the drywall, rewiring, bringing the floor level to the rest of the house and protecting the floor from moisture using either a moisture barrier or ceramic tile flooring. Ask your contractor about the ability of your HVAC system to handle another room. You might have to install a separate system.

You will also need to decide if you want any sort of plumbing run into the new room and if you want to add a crawl space above the garage or other storage options. There’s also the garage door to consider. It can be left intact or converted into a wall.

Talk to your contractor about your city’s building codes before starting the project. Municipal codes regulate anything from electrical outlet placement to window and door requirements. And often, garages are originally built to different codes from living areas. If you’re converting a garage to living space, you’ll need to meet numerous requirements to pull it off.

Incidentally, all these changes might get in the way of actually keeping a car in there! But if you use up all the space and you still want to protect your car from the elements, the addition of a carport will take up minimal space on your driveway.

Tweet your home care questions with #AskAngi and we’ll try to answer them in a future column.